Sabarimala (Kerala), Dec 19: A purification ceremony was performed at the Lord Ayyappa temple here today after a 35-year-old woman entered the shrine and offered worship in violation of the custom barring entry of females in the age group of 10-50.
The ceremony was performed at the 18 sacred steps that lead to the main temple, and near the sanctum sanctorum temple administration officials said tonight.
Temple tantri (traditional high priest) led the purification ceremony, Travancore Devswom Board officials said.
The woman identified as Saraswathi from Andhra Pradesh managed to climb the highly-revered 18 steps, enter the temple complex and offered worship this afternoon. She was spotted by the Rapid Action Force personnel while moving near Mallikapuram sub-temple in the complex. RAF personnel handed her over the woman to local police, who, however, let her go and did not register any case.
A controversy had broken out in 2006 after Kannada actor of yesteryear Jayamala claimed to have entered the temple during her prime and touched the idol of the presiding deity, saying she was pushed into the sanctum sanctorum by the surging crowd.
A case was registered against Jayamala and charge sheet filed in a court last year against her in connection with her claim but it was stayed by the Kerala High Court in October last.